Starting Sunday at the Galveston Naval Museum, they have two World War 2 era Navy ships an Escort and a submarine. Getting there at 10am and still like 100 degrees, made it a little warm. Its a little bit of a drive around to the island, actually very remote in a way. Parking cost like $5 and admission was $13 per person. They offer discounts for seniors, first responders and military.
USS Cavalla Submarine
I had a blast walking through the USS Cavalla Submarine and seeing it all. I love touring the old WW2 crafts and seeing how they lived and fought in the war.
From the GNM Website – Cavalla was a Gato class fleet sub, designed and built in the summer of 1943 by the Electric Boat Company and launched on November 14, 1943. She was commissioned on Feb. 29, 1944, the first “leap year” boat built by E.B.
From 1944-1946, Cavalla was an attack submarine, sinking over 34,000 tons of enemy shipping including the Imperial Japanese Navy’s carrier, Shokaku during the Battle of the Philippine Seas. After the war, she was decommissioned and placed in the Navy Reserve Fleet, New London CT. Decommissioned again after a tour with Submarine Squadron 8, the Electric Boat Company converted her into a hunter-killer submarine (SSK-244) on September 3, 1952. Cavalla was recommissioned and served with Submarine Squadron 10/Submarine Development group 2 to experiment with new sonar equipment.
USS Cavalla (SS-244) was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for actions on her first patrol near the Philippines from May 31 to Aug 3, 1944 under the command of Lt. Cdr. Herman J. Kossler (1911-1988). She was also awarded four Battle Stars for operations in the Pacific. The USS Cavalla is best know as the “Avenger of Pearl Harbor” and earned the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation for sinking the Japanese Aircraft Carrier, Shokaku, a vessel which attacked Pearl Harbor.
The Cavalla was decommissioned in 1946, but was brought back to service in 1951 and assigned to Submarine Squadron 10 in New London, CT. To meet the Cold War Soviet threat, she underwent conversion in 1952 to a new class of American sub–the SSK (hunter/killer) with a new bow and sonar. In 1963, she was again reclassified. This time to AGSS-244 as an Auxiliary Submarine with a continued experimentation mission. On 30 December, 1969, Cavalla was decommissioned for the final time and struck from the Naval Register List.
On 21 Jan 1971, USS Cavalla became a museum ship at Seawolf Park, in Galveston, Texas. In 1971, the U.S. Navy transferred possession of Cavalla to the Texas Submarine Veterans of WWII as a memorial to the lost submarine USS Seawolf.
Berthed at Seawolf Park, many visitors refer to her as the “Seawolf”, mistaking the name of the memorial park for that of the submarine on exhibit there. Saved from the scrap yard, Cavalla continues to be a “Lucky Lady.”
The USS Cavalla is on the National Register of Historic Places.
USS Stewart Destroyer Escort
From the GNM Website – USS Stewart is one of only two remaining Destroyer Escorts, and the only Edsall-class DE in the United States. She was built in 1942 by Brown Shipping Company in Houston and commissioned in May of 1943.
USS Stewart began her patrols out of Miami, then as a “school ship” training student officers out of Norfolk, VA. She escorted President Roosevelt in the presidential yacht down the Potomac River to rendezvous with USS Iowa for his mission to Casablanca and Tehran. In 1944, she commenced North Atlantic convoy operations, making 30 crossings with occasional enemy submarine and aircraft encounters. On April 9th, 1945, Stewart rescued the surviving members of the SS Saint Mihiel-SS Nashbulk collision and helped put out fires and salvage the ships. During her many convoys, heavy seas and icing conditions were frequent.
USS Stewart is named after Admiral Charles Stewart who was the first Admiral of the US Navy, and commanded the USS Constitution during the War of 1812. In addition to DE-238, two earlier U.S. Navy destroyers, DD-13 and DD-224, were named in Stewart’s honor. One of her special duties as an escort ship, in October of 1943, USS Stewart transported flag officers and their staffs while escorting and protecting the Presidential Yacht of President Franklin D.
Roosevelt as he made his way to the Battleship USS Iowa and on to Tehran, Iran for an historic meeting with Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Secretary Joseph Stalin. There, they decided that in May of 1944, the Allies would conduct Operation Overlord, the landing at Normandy Beach. USS Stewart led the way to history! On April 10, 1945, USS Stewart assisted the SS St Mihiel after it collided with another ship off the coast of New York. Stewart fought the fire, reestablished power, and helped escort the ships back to port.
Stewart moved to the Pacific theater in mid 1945, and conducted training exercises out of Pearl Harbor until the end of the war. She was decommissioned in late 1945 and changed berths 3 times before arriving at Seawolf Park In 1974. She is the only ship of her class in the US and the third ship (DD-13, DD-224, and DE-238) named for Rear Admiral Charles Stewart who commanded another ship in the historic naval fleet, USS Constitution, from 1813 to 1815.
USS Stewart was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
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Navigating through life, or as I like to call it, stumbling through a travel brochure, I’ve bounced from one continent to another like a ping pong ball. From riding a camel around the pyramids and getting lost in Cairo’s bazaars, to scuba diving wrecks off Florida, mingling with sharks in Roatan, and admiring Cozumel’s coral reefs. And amidst this whirlwind of adventure, I find time to scribble it all down in a blog, because what’s a near-death experience with a dolphin if you can’t brag about it online, right? So here’s to cheap travels, history lessons in every port, and unforgettable under-the-sea encounters. May my suitcase always be packed and my oxygen tank never be empty!